J asked me if any of the referrals he gave me worked out, and I said that I only had called one of them so far because it was a crazy week. I asked him if he had actually talked to the people that he referred me to, and he said he put out a post on a listserv describing what he was looking for and these people responded. I don’t know why that surprised me, there are listservs for every group of professionals, it just seemed weird that he was posting about me on the listserv (even though I know he wasn’t posting about me, he was posting about needing to refer someone to me).
So then I pulled out my list of things that went on during the week and read it all to him. Then I said “So which one of these things do you like?”
We started by talking about the cancer scare, and how my husband didn’t ask me about my appointment. J started making excuses for my husband.
Me: Why are you taking his side?
J: I’m not taking his side.
Me: Yes you are. It’s because you’re a man right?
J said that since I wasn’t really worried about the oncologist appointment I didn’t make a big deal out of it so my husband didn’t really think it was a big deal either and that is why he didn’t ask me about it. Or maybe he had an important meeting to go to and had other things on his mind.
I did get J to admit that my husband should have called to see how it went, but he didn’t think it was so bad that he didn’t.
Then he asked me why I didn’t call my husband to tell him what happened at the appointment. I explained that I thought it would be best to tell him in person and I was just going to wait until he came home from work, but then he texted me to say he was going out to dinner and would be home late. J asked if I was punishing him or being passive aggressive. I said I was just waiting for him to come home so that I could talk to him, but when I got his text and he didn’t mention the doctor I got angry.
Later on in the conversation J asked me again why I didn’t call my husband. I repeated the whole reason again. I told J that I was hurt that my husband didn’t ask me how it went, and that this is not the first time he has done this. I have told J about similar experiences in the past. I asked how can I think I am a worthwhile person and that I have value if people forget about me. He asked if my husband cares about me, and I said that he does. I said that my husband also forgets things about our children, and J asked if my husband cares about them. I said that yes he does care about them, and J asked how I know. That is a hard question, I told J that my husband does not show any overt signs of caring, he doesn’t say “I love you” or give hugs. He enjoys being with them though (although he didn’t enjoy being with them when they were little). We agreed that my husband is a bit clueless, that if something isn’t right in front of his face it doesn’t exist, and that he drops the ball at times. But that he does care about me and the kids.
We talked about my race Sunday and how I thought I did really well, and the connection between the running and the cancer scare. I somehow thought they were connected, but I don’t really know. Perhaps I would have run just as well if I hadn’t been told that I had cancer, maybe I’m just finally recovering from the surgery and I’m back to my level of fitness from before.
We talked about my feelings about cancer, and how they have changed since the appointment on Thursday. That maybe the first time I was in denial, and now I really feel like I had cancer. I said that I don’t think it is so bad to be in denial, for some people, I think it can be a good coping mechanism to get through hard times. Obviously criminals and child molesters should not be in denial.
We talked briefly about my mother’s email and how she said “Let’s all move along and get on with our lives and be together as a family” and “Don’t take this the wrong way”. J didn’t seem too interested in this topic, but I think it was so representative of my mother’s attitude toward feelings, and how if anything goes wrong it must be my fault.
Then I mentioned how I have five lunch/dinner/parties to go to in the next week and how that is stressful for me. On Friday my husband’s firm is having their holiday lunch and he sent me an email of the menu. It was pretty much full of meat. Meat, fish and lamb. I said to my husband that maybe I just shouldn’t go, but it turns out that he asked the office manager to check with the restaurant to see if I could get a vegan meal. The restaurant said that would be no problem. J thought it was very “sweet” of my husband to do that. (He uses that word a lot, and I think it is kind of weird.) He mentioned some other “sweet” things that my husband has done and I agreed that he has been doing things lately.
J said that I frequently talk about my marriage as though my husband and I are roommates, that we don’t have any common interests, we don’t do anything together, etc. But maybe things aren’t as bad as I make them out to be, since my husband does these nice things for me. I think J wants me to reframe the situation and see it differently.
I think that was about it, I did say that I don’t want to forget about the email I sent him last week saying that I think therapy should focus on why I can’t talk openly to people rather than on the actual words I should say, but that topic didn’t seem relevant right now.